The Washington Post

Cobra goes missing at Bronx Zoo — help!

Hide your wives! Hide your kids!

Bring out your mongeese!

A deadly cobra went MIA from the Bronx Zoo this morning.

Sure, DC’s a little far, but if there’s one thing I know about snakes, it’s that they like to get on planes! Preferably planes that don’t include Samuel L. Jackson.

Still, if you ever wondered what the exact opposite of Free Willy was, this is it.

So, to the co-op board president who refused to allow me to train my mongoose as an assassin: My death is on your head!

I am terrified of snakes. At an impressionable age, I had a bad experience with one, because a yellow and black striped snake emerged from the bushes and I couldn’t remember if it was “black on yellow, kindly fellow/Red on black, you’re dead, jack” or “black on yellow, deadly fellow/Red on black, you’re safe, Jack” because this is probably the worst mnemonic device in history. I could remember long stretches of “Jabberwocky,” but aside from the vague hope that I might be able to bore the snake to death before it sank its poisoned fangs into me, this didn’t seem like useful information.

So it better not come here. This is why most people move to the city: Because if you run into a copperhead or a black mamba here, you’re probably watching a Quentin Tarantino movie, not fighting a live serpent with a stick shouting, “Get back on the plane!” And since baby Herculeses and Riki Tiki Tavis are in short supply,I don’t know what I’d do. Sure, I could try to charm the snake, but given my typical effect on men, I think clubbing it with a stick to neutralize it would probably make more sense. Then again, most people who hear me play the flute respond by jumping off high buildings, so that could kill two birds with one stone, or one snake with one recorder.

Right now the snake, not a native New Yorker, probably is nervously wandering around in circles, trying to pretend it’s not looking at a map. Eventually it’ll sidle up to someone who turns out to be a tourist and ask for directions. It will wind up accidentally riding the subway to Brooklyn and by the time it realizes its mistake, all its friends will have gone back to the East Village to watch an improv show.

Humorist Andy Borowitz quipped on Twitter that it’s heading for its natural habitat: Wall Street.

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day. She is the author of "A Field Guide to Awkward Silences".


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